Miss World Manushi Chhillar has praised Indian women for their resilience in the face of adversity.
“All Indian women have one thing in common... we don’t feel persecuted for who we are and actually face our challenges head-on,” she said at a media interaction in Mumbai on Monday. Chhillar was talking about the row surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film Padmavati.
“I think that’s what we need to do, we need to be confident about who we are,” she said, referring to death threats against actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the lead in the film.
“We will face a lot of limitations and sometimes we do feel that it is not a very woman-friendly society. But as individuals, we should just set an example and make women feel confident that you can do amazing things as well,” she added.
As part of the Miss World pageant, contestants performed a dance from their respective countries.
Chhillar chose to dance to the song Nagada Sang Dhol from Bhansali’s film Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela.
“All the girls used to dance to that song during rehearsal. I am happy that in a way, I could bring India in front of the world,” said Chhillar.
Asked if she has Bollywood dreams, Chhillar said: “I am really excited about travelling next year. We will be visiting four continents, and spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene. Bollywood is just something that is not on my mind as of now so I really can’t say anything about it.”
However, Chhillar knows who she would like to work with in case a film career ever materialises.
“I’ll definitely want to work in an Aamir Khan film. I think he has some really challenging roles that he gives you. At the same time, his movies have a message and a connect to the society. So it’ll be very interesting to do,” she said.
Chhillar said in the first few weeks of the beauty pageant, several contestants thought she was an actress.
“Jokes apart, we all are very similar. We didn’t have any preconceived notions about each other. We go there with a fresh mind, there’s a lot of curiosity to know each other,” she said.
On Monday, Chhillar and her family offered prayers at the Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi in Mumbai.
“She came here with her family at 5.15am for darshan [prayers] and spent some time at the temple premises,” Marathi actor and the Temple Trust Chairman Aadesh C. Bandekar said.
Later, Chhillar tweeted: “Seeking blessings from Lord Ganesha at the Siddhivinayak Temple in Dadar (Prabhadevi), Mumbai. So much positivity around the place.”
The medical student from Haryana was accompanied by her parents Mithrabasu and Neelam Chhillar — who are both doctors — and her brother.